“How to… tell before October comes which of your colleagues is an “autuphile”, you know, one of those people that, as the first cool wind blows in, announces themselves delighted because summer is too much, too hot – these are people to notice and politely avoid until Christmas, because saying they love autumn is the meteorological equivalent of carrying a Nabokov paperback in their back pocket, a whole identity, at least until it snows, an entire look, complete with new tights and nostalgia, and printed-out recipes for stew.”

I almost got to wear leggings today. I did wear a long-sleeved shirt.

Yesterday evening there was a string of Canada geese, perhaps 200 strong, floating in a line 20 feet off shore, looking like flotsam cast up by the storm the day before. I was staring at this apparition, trying to make sense of it, when a young girl on a young horse rode past along the beach at a quick canter. And then a bit further on, dozens of seagulls wheeling and squawking along a three-block stretch of highway.

Sometimes life is a parade.

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So, I’ve been missing. I hope this thing still works.

What have I been doing? Not much, until just a few days ago, when I accidentally bought a house. So who knows what will happen next? But in the meantime, I have this brain, that does things.

So I was at the bakery the other day, because after buying a house food became loosely defined. They have a blackboard on which they post inspirational quotes. This time it was “the purpose of life is to live with purpose.”

Oh no, you don’t get off that easy. “The purpose of life is to live,” said (sang) Spike. Sartre said something like the meaning of life is whatever keeps you from killing yourself. Those people with the diesel pickup trucks that cut in front of electric cars and spew exhaust? They might have another opinion.

(I can see why I disappear. I feel like this post should be heavily footnoted and sourced. Curse you College Education! But then again writing papers was my favorite thing – well, one favorite thing) (Oh look – Wikipedia!)

Continuing with the brain thing, I’m reading about meditation (which counts for something, I think) and I get to this bit –

Every day, millions of people depart this life. One day, you don’t know when, it will be your turn.”

I looked it up. On average, 151,000 people die each day. All you millions got to wait your turn. While you’re waiting, figure out what it’s all about, okay?

And one of her Dobermans, and now I see the shadow of the head of the photographer, who is probably my dad. Old old photo – WWII era, probably. Faded to a tobacco color, scanned and lightened and desaturated. The dark edges were hidden behind a mat, in a frame that also had an old old photo of a man – I think my grandfather. At some point I want to color it. Also, my mother had red curly hair, and great clothes.

I found this in a box of books out in the garage. I have no idea how it got there or why. Augh! my mother, and our relationship, and how she never knew how much I admired her, even if I wasn’t the daughter she wanted. So beautiful, so brilliant, so shouldn’t have been a stay-at-home mom. I’m sorry I wasn’t more supportive.

I also now know that I have to go through all those boxes that have been sitting there since I moved here in 2009 (Cool; less than a decade!). I also found a newspaper from 1942, and a couple of Readers’ Digests from 1937 and 38. And kids’ books. I know what to do with those. Yay for co-workers with babies!

Every time I open this blog up and see “Dotted Yellow Line” I remember how awful those years were, when I started it. Stalked by a brain-damaged alcoholic former fiancé (totalled my car, turned my life into a country-western song) (sounds worse than it was, maybe. Maybe not), Daughter at college and sliding into an abyss with no way to tell me how bad it was (she’s just coming out of that depression now – lots of bullying), working as a janitor to be closer to said Daughter, and driving an hour one way to work, ex-husband telling people (in a small town, pretty much everybody he came in contact with) that Daughter has Asperger’s because I am a lithium addict (??? Yeah, no. Lithium is a salt. You can’t get addicted to salt.), and that I let above-mentioned boyfriend have sex with Daughter. Oh, yeah, and he (ex) killed my dog. It all feels like the sound of those scenes in The Shining that were recorded in a walk-in freezer – my bones hurt and I was all alone.

Man. Hard times. But now I have that photo of clouds over the Lake up by Cornucopia, and I can learn a new association, change that feeling to new road trips and better times.

“I can walk with my feet and hear with my ears.” Is that what River Tam said?I’m better now, actually good, and the sun is shining. So fuck it, and let’s dance.

 

Isn’t it great? The mouth is crazy, man! And the deep wells of the eyes.

Except, no. Not even. It’s supposed to be –

David sedaris photo

David Sedaris. I ran across the photo on the Guardian, and when I went back to look at it again, I noticed this –

Two stories, 18 months apart? Maybe not that far apart. Same photo shoot. Also, his nose is crooked.

Moral of the story? Working from anything is hard. Working is hard.

Also, I blew up my SI joint by stepping into the house. Okay, “blew up” is an exaggeration. I was supposed to be finished with therapy next week. More PT for me! Frustrating, is the word I’m using. I got plants in pots before this happened, so that’s good. It just happened after a week of feeling pretty good, is all. Disappointing is another word.

And in other disappointments, Daughter brought home commercial cake donuts with chocolate frosting and what looked like caramel stripes! but the stripes were actually butterscotch. Sigh. The world is a bed of torment.

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for blue skies and trees that actually have leaves on them, and potted plants that are growing quickly. And since I can’t do very much, I’ll have another go at Sedaris’s face. Maybe.

 

This whole dickhead for president thing has really harshed my mellow. Whatever. Pain is fleeting, art is eternal, or at least good for a few years.

three queens

Doing things in series. I have these odd-shaped scraps from bowl-making. What to do with them seems obvious now.

first queen  First queen.

wind crown Second queen. Pretty damn formal. Could be a pope. Trying to believe that’s a sail. But I think it’s a pope.

tall queen I don’t know why this image is so soft. I think it’s from shooting slow at a wide-open aperture – failure of depth of field. Anyway, she’s tall and beautiful and full of interesting things. And not done.

And there’s this puppy;

secrets

Secrets, because the box is full of gaps and the lid doesn’t shut tight. I should get more pictures, but it’s freaking cold out again. I’m totally thrilled with the hinge on this, creaky and wobbly and finicky, but to the point. The bits sticking out under the lid keep it from falling in.

Fine. I’ll go find other pictures.

Okay, I won’t. Because technology and improvements. But the story is, I had this finished and sitting by my computer and Katniss knocked it off the table and onto the floor where it got crushed by my rocker. After crying many many bitter tears I annealed it and bent it back into shape, and here it is reborn.

So yeah, I was sidetracked by the bowls because people like them, but they take a lot of work – boring, repetitive work – that is hard on my hands. Now I’m doing more of what I think I should be doing, which is strange representations.

For the weekend? I work Saturday, and then four hours on Monday. I told schedule person I would bring my knitting, and he said sounds good. So I might finish the socks I’ve been working on for 5 months.

I used to be a really good cook. Sigh.

I made polenta today, because even I can still make polenta and throw an egg on top of it, right? However, one part cornmeal to four parts water does not equal 1/4 cup cornmeal and two cups of water. And there was the failed chicken curry. A long series of meals that I forgot one crucial ingredient. and the quiche where I forgot BOTH the white pepper and the nutmeg, AND set the timer but didn’t start it. And the thing where I set fire to the cutting board. Sigh.

Fortunately, throwing another 1/4 cup of cornmeal in twenty minutes into the process still yields a good product – perhaps better, because the original cornmeal had become fully hydrated – yes, I looked up how to cook polenta on one of those food sites – and so the resulting mass was smooth and creamy with a bit of crunchiness. Put a soft-cooked egg and some cottage cheese on top, and gobble it down. I’ve given up on the original spinach and garlic and maybe curry that is supposed to go on this, because I was failing at spinach and possibly onion too. That’s right. I have been failing at onion. It’s just depressing. I can still bake a frozen pizza with the best, so all is not lost.

In better news, we went down to Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Guillermo del Toro exhibit which was AWESOME! The paintings and drawings were fantastic, the video compilations on various themes were intriguing, the detail in some of the props was amazing! The gauntlet that Rasputin wore when he tried to open the gate was on display, with all the tubes and wiring. We weren’t allowed to touch it, unfortunately. Not enough Hellboy, no Samaiel, no Abe. A brilliant homage to Edgar Allen Poe, with rain-lashed windows.

While we were waiting, we cruised through the Asian exhibits which were AWESOME! also, All I could think was how much time and effort went into the pieces, weavings, sculpture, pottery. I feel like a hack. After we got through the del Toro exhibit, we wandered around looking at paintings. Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Gauguin, Renoir, Degas. Too much for the short amount of time we had. Daughter got bored – “they were just paintings.” We were all tired, and my companions basically dragged me away. Fortunately, Daughter is cool with me going down by myself to spend more time. You better believe I will.

In other strange and unrelated news, I seem to have an allergic reaction to jelly beans.

And I don’t know why.

I do know that I like drawing flowers, because here is another one.Scan 2017-5-7 19.00.54

I was practicing drawing circles and ellipses, and drawing with a loose grip, and all of a sudden there was an almost-a-sunflower. Weird, how that happens. (Too much like a chrysanthemum, no sense of the meaty disc that is a sunflower, no green – bracts? hanging out behind the petals. I got the sawtooth leaf on one side, so there; sunflower.)

In other flowers, I pulled a bunch of geraniums last year and stuck them upside-down in paper bags. They started sprouting, so I stuck seven of them into a pail of water, and then one bright day in April, I planted them out. Of course it snowed the next day, so I nailed plastic over the box they’re planted in, and they seem to be about ready to go nuts – if we get two days nice weather in a row. I’m wondering if this will be a year when we get snow in July. Photos to come.

I’m knitting a sock, la dee da, and a boring one at that, and thinking about a sweater, because The Cat has taken over my thrift store Fair Isle, and this would be perfect weather for such a thing. And of course, none of the ones I’m seeing appeal to me, and so of course I’ll design my own, and so of course I will curse myself for it because it is so much easier to follow someone else’s pattern. Sigh.

In less pleasant news, the Cat pooped on my bed. I know, it’s a message, what with her not speaking english, and actually has nothing to do with me except that I’m in charge, and I should get the staff to do better. I don’t know, it’s put a damper on my feelings towards her.

I think my plan of getting her a puppy is a good one.

 

“To be sensual . . . is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”

It’s from James Baldwin and “The Fire Next Time”, but I’m not reading that, it’s quoted in “Breaking Bread” by bell hooks and Cornell West. I think I’ve jumped into the deep end. Community and bread-baking have been coming up lately. I am not sure how to do community, but I do know how to bake bread.

I’m also reading “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman. I think it should have been illustrated. And Loki! Trickster Makes This World.
Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 1.14.42 AM

The weather is broken. But a) you knew that, and b) it’s April. Some of the personal poop has passed, some is still in progress. That silly facebook thing – “so far, you’ve been 100% successful in making it” or something, has actually been helpful.

(And oh no, the cat is awake and looking at things. It can only go downhill. We use the Invisible Hand of Doom squirt-bottle method of cat deterrence. It worked maybe twice before she figured out it was us, Doing That Thing. There are days when she is bored and does A Bad Thing just so we will squirt her and she Must Run Away. Having a three-year-old-teenager-fox-sprite-creature living in your house can be hard, but it’s not boring.)

Journals, sketchpads, philosophy notebook, other books. The house is probably sinking into the ground.

The metaphorical poop has hit the turbine in a bunch of ways. And Mercury is in retrograde. But I do have new pictures to show you – mainly because I’ve been lax and haven’t shown them to you. Otherwise, most of my brain is busy with stuff.

Oh, yeah, and I re-read American Gods. It was a different book this time; I might read it again in a few years, to see if it’s changed again.

I’m working on replicating a sky from a painting by a Group of Seven person. Can’t remember the details, but (presumably) he painted a sunset in tiles of color. Also, painting little boxes of color! The pen ink bleeds out brown; very useful. I don’t think it even begins to be permanent, though.

I suspect they’re ash trees.